DOWNEY - The city of Downey and Downey Unified School District will work together to offer students free access to pertussis vaccinations, required for all students entering grades seven through 12.Students must be vaccinated for pertussis - also known as whooping cough - within 30 days after the start of the academic year, which begins Sept. 7 in Downey. School district officials reached out to the city for help in organizing vaccination events. Mark Sauter, emergency services manager for Downey, has organized numerous large-scale vaccination clinics in the city going back to 2007. Sauter typically works in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Health Department and utilizes volunteers from the Emergency Preparedness Committee and Downey's Community Emergency Response Team. "The city is able to assist with the coordination of free vaccination events for DUSD with Tdap booster shots supplied from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health," Shannon DeLong, assistant to the city manager, wrote in a report to the City Council. "In addition to the actual vaccines, supplies such as gloves and sharps containers would be donated for the event and medical volunteers would perform the injections." The City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to assist with the vaccinations. Mayor Pro Tem Roger Brossmer, an administrator at the school district, abstained. Pertussis in adults can cause a persistent cough lasting several weeks. The illness can cause severe complications in infants, including pneumonia, seizures, encephalopathy and death. Health officials recommend vaccinations for infants at two, four and six months of age.
********** Published: July 28, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 15